If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably noticed that the Nonreligious channel on Patheos has gone fairly quiet as of late. A lot of the bloggers there are shuttering their blogs, including Hemant Mehta, best known as the “Friendly Atheist”.
Well, there’s a damn good reason: Patheos didn’t want any articles critical of religion or politics. So, most everyone left. They’re heading to a new site know as OnlySky. I can’t say that I blame them.
Efforts to reach Patheos’ management team were unsuccessful, but the departing bloggers and their channel manager, Dale McGowan, said that about a year ago, Patheos decided to change its editorial direction. Bloggers were advised they could stay at Patheos so long as they stopped writing negative or critical posts on religion or politics and instead focused on how to live a good life within their own worldview.
Now, there’s a massive problem with that: a good number of atheists are highly critical of religion, as they should be. Some have been raised in toxic, abusive situations/homes, some have been homeschooled, others have dealt with trauma from religion itself. Yes, a lot of atheists criticize religion but they have damn good reasons to do so. Hell, I’ve done that exact same thing here on this very blog!
Basically, Patheos was stifling them. Now, Patheos has every right to do that, but those bloggers have every right to say that they’ve had enough and simply leave. Which is what they are doing.
“What they were asking of us was not compatible with the editorial tone we had taken until then,” said Adam Lee, who wrote the “Daylight Atheism” blog for Patheos. “Many of us felt this would require an editorial shift to such an extent as to make our blogs unrecognizable.”
Exactly. As I said earlier, Patheos had every right to do this, but the atheist bloggers also have every right to find another platform. No, this isn’t censorship or cancel culture. This is straight up capitalism and the fallout resulting from decisions made by those on high.
So what does this mean? For me, it means I get to remove Patheos from my bookmarks and head over to OnlySky. As it was, I wasn’t hanging out on Patheos as often; most of my news was coming from JoeMyGod. I had also noticed that the phrasing on quite a few of the articles from Friendly Atheist was different; instead of condemning a violent or criminal act because it was inspired by religion, the commentary was carefully saying that religion might have played a tiny factor.
A good number of people in the comments were quick to say that religion itself needed to be held accountable, but that was never addressed. I understand why now.
To the bloggers: I hope your move goes smoothly and the transition is an easy one. I wish you well with your newest project. It’s not easy starting with a new platform and I hope things go well.
To Patheos: consider this the last time I ever click on any of your blogs. You literally have nothing for me now. If I find something from your site that I want to pick apart, I’ll be using a link from the Wayback Machine. I won’t directly link to you. But I seriously doubt I’ll be going through that much trouble; you have nothing that interests me now. If you’re lucky, you haven’t completely shot yourself in the foot, but I doubt it.