Sunday, June 06, 2004

Why I Am A Blogger

Or, more specifically, I want to deal with the question of why my blog deals with matters of faith, ethics, policy, philosophy, and the like. I blog about everyday events because it keeps me in touch with friends who read this, and because I'll want to remember details later on. But "idea-blogging" is a different animal entirely.

I've been thinking about these things for a couple of days, ever since Athanasius at Summa Contra Mundum wrote a post about a Catholic blogger my age who had fallen on some tough times. He wrote that it might be a bad idea for the young to blog about so many heavy issues, particularly those that affect your own spiritual and moral life.

Now, after reflection, there's something to what he meant by that. Blogging about one's opinions, or writing them for publication in any form, is not a neutral act, even if nobody should read it. Of course it's not inherently bad, or to be looked down upon; the very fact we have so many great works in the Catholic tradition belies that thesis. But not every man is a Saint Augustine, and having a soapbox like this can give you the impression your formulations are worth reading.

In this blog, I am more public than the commenters, and I always have the last word. The format makes my reflections seem more creditable than they do when I'm merely speaking to my friends. It links to my temptation to feel superior, to believe that I'm educating my friends, to think that it really will matter to other people when I finally put up that post about the ethics of voting and the Catholic conscience. It can be a real ego trip sometimes, knowing that other people read my posts on a regular basis. There's also the fact that I like to argue, perhaps to excess.

But there's still a lot of good in blogging these ideas, I think. As long as I keep in mind that I'm still forming a great deal of my thought, that those pesky commenters have things to teach me, and that winning or losing an argument does not necessarily correspond to being correct or incorrect, writing my reflections publicly can be a great help to me.

I'll probably add to or edit this post, by the way. I don't think I really express well the realization that giving oneself a forum is a moral act which is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.

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