In Chapter Three of The Inn of God’s Forgiveness, I wrote:
To summarize, here’s the bad news: if you want to claim the Christian tradition without affirming the traditional creeds, it’s a bit of an uphill battle. Confident creedal Christians will identify you as an inadequate believer, if not actually an agent of Satan; confident atheists will identify you as an inadequate doubter, still clinging to your discredited faith tradition; but in the face of both, you will have to insist on claiming your own religious identity.
It’s coming back to haunt me now. I’m advertising the web page for the book on Facebook, and people are occasionally commenting on the ad that appears in their news feeds. So far, the comments are of just these two kinds. There are confident creedal Christians who want to tell me that I’m not really a Christian — and there are atheists who are say things like “tired of these fairy tales in my news feed” and “he [Jesus] is a made up character in a storybook who cares.”
But oh well! I can’t really blame the atheists for being cheesed off: shouldn’t Facebook know enough about their interests to not advertise a book of Christian theology and hymns to them? But it’s interesting how reactive people are on this topic — reactive in much the same way on all sides. The atheists feel threatened and demeaned by an oppressive Christian majority. The conservative Christians also feel threatened and demeaned by the erosion of their tradition in an increasingly secular culture. And, of course, I feel pretty beleaguered myself, getting it from both sides. But it’s been very interesting to engage my conservative Christian commentators in online discussion. We often seem to be able to find some ground for mutual respect, though not always agreement. That’s progress. And meanwhile, the people who are not offended by the ad, though not posting, are coming to the web site and downloading the hymns. 1000 downloads and counting!