I’ve been blogging at this website for a little over five years now. And it’s time to move on… kind of.
This is a big part of my life and it takes up a lot of my time (outside of teaching and coaching). I have no desire to stop blogging, though. The opportunities it has provided me with are wonderful and I learn so much from the commenters here and throughout the blogosphere.
A couple months ago, I started having discussions with a website called Patheos, a website that’s still relatively young but growing quickly. They want to become a hub for dialogue about religion on the web. They have what they call religion “portals” so that people interested in learning facts about Islam or Evangelical Christianity or Paganism can do so. Contained in each of those portals are blogs (with their respective opinionated pieces). Much like Scientific American and Discover have their own networks of science bloggers, Patheos is building a network of bloggers from all over the religious spectrum.
Patheos is about to launch its atheism/Humanism section, and with it, I’ll be moving my site over there, archives and all. It’s a decision I came to after a lot of conversations with the people there, other atheist bloggers, and people who have both accepted and declined Patheos’ invitation. I feel good about the decision.
I anticipate some backlash. For example, why be part of a site that provides a home for religious bloggers? Well, there’s no agenda on their part to promote one belief system over another. They’re interested in the “whole conversation” and I’m interested in promoting/discussing atheism over theism, but I like that they’re including our views in their mix. There’s nothing wrong with open dialogue and being associated with religious bloggers in open forums has never been a problem for me in the past (it’s why I sometimes contribute to the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post sites). I’m under no obligation to support anything the other bloggers write — hell, I can criticize them freely.
There are a number of advantages to this switch on a personal level. It’s a new challenge, for one, and I love being part of things from the ground up. It’ll mean more exposure to people outside our movement, the people who need to hear our perspective the most. I’ll get paid for my work, which is always nice. There will be technical support, which is a huge deal for me. (There was a time when this site kept crashing every couple days because of the number of readers. I had to keep increasing the server size to accommodate people and that cost a lot of money. For a while now, it’s been stable, but at a very high price… it’s nice to know I won’t have to worry about things like that.)
What does this change mean for readers? Ideally, nothing (though I hope you’ll forgive the inevitable glitch or two).
- The type of posts you see won’t change. In fact, my contract with Patheos contains a “no censorship” clause. I’ll continue writing about the things I find interesting, whether that’s religious abuses, church/state violations, or delicious babies.
- Richard Wade will still be answering your questions.
- The commenting system will switch over to Disqus, which will be *way* better than the current method of unnumbered, unthreaded responses.
- The Friendly Atheist Forums will continue running as usual, but the URL may change. (I’ll keep you updated.)
- All old links will simply be redirected to Patheos — so if you linked to them before, they’ll still work. If you come to friendlyatheist.com in the future, you’ll just be redirected to Patheos.
- There will be unobtrusive ads in the sidebar (much like there are now) that I won’t have control over, but I don’t think that’ll be an issue for most readers.
- Your RSS feeds should automatically redirect without you having to do anything, but I’ll let you know if that changes.
- If, for whatever reason, I decide the partnership isn’t working out for me, I can always return to this site (and bring my postings with me). Hopefully, that won’t be the case.
- My contact information will be in the sidebar if you have links/stories/suggestions.
I hope you’ll continue reading over there as I transition over. It should only take a day or two for most of the site to switch over, and I’ll be good to go in time to live-blog The Amazing Meeting in Vegas over the weekend.
Thanks in advance for your understanding and support.