In the preface to his book Allah: A Christian Response, Miroslav Volf puts forward several caveats about how he intends, as a Christian, to write about Islam. As I read the caveats, I felt a great deal of resonance with the way I have tried to write about the great variety of non-Christian beliefs I have engaged through the years. So I have adapted Volf’s list to create my own Christian blogging manifesto.
- I write as a committed Christian who embraces classical expressions of the Christian faith, including the doctrines of the Trinity, the incarnation, justification by grace, and so forth. I take this to be part of the normative Christian tradition, in which I happily stand. I offer here a Christian perspective, a Christian response to competing ideologies, whether theistic or atheistic.
- I write both as a Christian and for Christians. I don’t write from some neutral perspective, from some vantage point suspended above Christianity and other beliefs (and non-beliefs); that would be disingenuous. And I don’t write for non-believers, telling them what to believe and how to lead their lives; that would be condescending.
- I write as a Christian, but I write in the presence of non-believers. They are more than welcome to look over my shoulder, and I am interested in hearing where they agree and disagree with me or where they feel understood or misunderstood. After all, this blog is about them, their gods (or lack of gods), their beliefs and practices, and their place in Christian understanding.
- I write for Christians, but at the same time this blog is an open invitation to others to think along with me and, if so moved, to reexamine their own stances toward the God of Jesus Christ, in the light of what I have written.
- There are many kinds of non-believers (many kinds of atheists; many kinds of Muslims; etc) just as there are many kinds of Christians. I attempt to write from the mainstream, classical expression of Christianity, and where I differ from the mainstream (as in radical nonviolence) I attempt to make clear that I represent a minority voice, why the mainstream believes as it does, and why I respectfully disagree. Likewise, I believe that a mainstream can often be identified among non-Christian groups, and I will attempt to genuinely and fairly represent that mainstream, by relying on reputable and respected thinkers among those groups, and to identify when I am building on a minority position among some group.
- As I write about Christians and non-Christians, I seek to be truthful and charitable. To love my neighbor as myself means to speak as well of them as I would wish them to speak of me.
I think it’s a good manifesto, and a good thing for Christians to sign onto in general. What do you think? If you’re a Christian blogger, would you modify any part of it to fit your own Christian blogging? If you’re a non-believer, how do you feel about interacting a blogger who fits this profile? To all my readers, do you feel that this fairly represents the way I interact on here? Where do I fall short of my ideals?