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Blog // Thoughts
November 2, 2012

On Not Writing About Politics And Religion

There’s an old cliche that suggests we should never discuss politics, religion or sex in polite company. While I’ve never written about sex on this blog, there was a time I wrote regularly about religion and politics. But, no longer, which has led some of my more loyal readers to occasionally ask, why? Things Change […]

There’s an old cliche that suggests we should never discuss politics, religion or sex in polite company. While I’ve never written about sex on this blog, there was a time I wrote regularly about religion and politics. But, no longer, which has led some of my more loyal readers to occasionally ask, why?

Things Change

As I mentioned recently (Niche Blog If You Can Get It) my approach to blogging involves writing about the things I do. Some years back, I was working as an academic, with a focus on philosophy, theology and cultural studies. So, it was natural for my writing to have plenty to say about religion (and, to a lesser extent, politics).

But, my work and focus has changed and my interest has shifted from social transformation and institutions, to personal transformation and creativity.

I’m Now Weary And Wary

While my passion for spirituality remains strong and I acknowledge the importance of understanding the politics of the day, I’ve grown weary of debates that seem to go nowhere. For example, Australia now entering a public debate about how it should view it’s future with respect to Asia. But, this is pretty much the same issue raised by the former, centre-right Prime Minister Paul Keating (who wanted Australians to recognise that they were in Asia and not “floating twelve miles off the coast of Cormwall”). Of course, he was defeated by the long-serving conservative Prime Minister, John Howard, who put the issue of Australia’s Asian destiny to rest, perhaps most symbolically by having the majority of the celebrations around the Federation of Australia be held not in Canberra, but in London! Will this debate ever really go anywhere?

And, I’m wary about getting invovled in online debates. There’s something about posting online that encourages some folk to be execptionally rancourous and hostile. When I stopped posting regularly about politics and religion, the number of comments and emails I received dropped off, but so did the amount of hate mail and vicious anonymous comments. It’s a trade-off I can happily live with.

No More Apologetics

As much as I’m tired of debates with people I don’t know, I’m also tired of arguments that try to convince, cajole, or conscript people. Apologetics is word which describes the attempt to convert people to a belief, or doctrine, through reasoned arguments. I’ve long held this view this is a misguided way to talk about religion and politics.

Floating ideas is fine, as is talking about what we believe. But, compelling proof comes from actions, not words. That’s why I’d rather channel my beliefs into creative acts, than combative arguments.

Of course, there’s a place for comment. Later this month I’ll share a few thoughts about Christmas and my opinions about the creative industries always have the salt of political policy about them. But, take it or leave these are just thoughts, conversation starters, as it were.

The deeper stuff is really the domain of a longer form of writing than is possible on a blog or, better yet, face to face conversation. Beyond that, the best representation of our beliefs is what we do, where we spend our time, and what we make sacrifices to achive. That will always speak louder than arguments, whether they be about relgion, politics, or anything else.

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