Confession: Why This is Not an Apologetics Website (Part One)

The mission of this website was (and is) to write about secularity as our common situation, and other topics related to it (with a few poems and other related issues thrown in). It aims at treating what is public, and common. When I include Christian historical elements –and as they are heavy in many of the roots and in the trunk of much of the West’s history, they have been prominent in many recent posts on Christianization— these elements are, or aim to be, (1) historical in character (this is the most common), or (2) they aim to clarify certain kinds of religious configurations that appear in our contemporary situation (often critically), or else (3) they aim to trace the shape of viable commitments in the modern age. Christianity is part of everyone’s heritage in the West, because of where we come from, but in nearly every Western country, there is no communal commitment to Christian identity. A heritage is not an obligation or a commitment (at least, I’m not currently so persuaded), but it is public. The manner in which, and the degree to which, Christian commitments either are or are not possible, and the shape of the options that people take within the current time, reveal something about the peculiarities of our age. That is to say, despite the depth of feeling I may bring to anything I write, my primary aim is to exposit, rather than to exhort. (There are and shall be plenty of hortatory moments here, but they are not of that sort, and I don’t expect they shall be.) I shall bring such feeling to Nietzsche and Plato alike, so my enthusiasm is not partisan. I’m not interested in selling anyone anything.

Readers who have no (or no explicit) religious practice are often uncomfortable with my (Orthodox) Christian one, and readers who are self-consciously Christian are often uncomfortable with my insistence on the ubiquity and inescapability of secularity (though these almost always radically mis-diagnose what secularity and secularism are) — indeed, some of the more zealous Christians I meet seem to expect that my writing here on Into the Clarities must be to denounce secularity and to promote Christian practice and identity. It is to these two groups that these posts are addressed.

Neither evangelism nor apologetics is my goal here –indeed, apologetics is not something that is compatible with my beliefs and outlook– and I’d like to take the opportunity to explain why.

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Brief Note

Into the Clarities has been silent for about a month now while I have been drowning in preparation for a teaching certification, as well as Lent, the ebb and flow of family life, and the completing of my second graduate degree; I’ll return to finish the sets of posts on “Plato and Poetry”, “Augustine and the Origins of Political Thought” and “Abandoning What is Public” when I’ve finished the certification test, and passed it.

In the meantime, over the next week, I’ll be publishing between six-to-eight posts on “Why This is Not an Apologetics Website”, in response to private comments many have made to me.

I certainly hope no one is annoyed or offended by them.