Well I can now more or less say that on the basis of a poll that contained a sample of over a 100 responses (I cannot affirm that there were 100 respondents) that I set up about a week ago that slightly fewer than 40% of the readership of Vridar identify themselves as “mythicists” in the sense of believing that Jesus was not historical in the sense of being a real person who acted out his career in first century Palestine.
Half the readers are either believers in the historicity of Jesus or undecided.
I find the results encouraging to the extent that such results would indicate I have at least some success in building this blog into (primarily) a means of publicly sharing and discussing a range of views and studies from the scholarly literature that I think have potential interest for anyone seeking to understand the issues, yet who has not had the opportunity to encounter some of the scholarly studies that do not make it so frequently to the wider public. Of if they do make it to the wider public (e.g. Spong), they can often be partly obscured by the consistently negative public pronouncements of more “mainstream” scholars. (I was about to say “conservative” scholars but got into trouble from a number of Americans the last time I used that adjective — it has connotations in the U.S. it seems that I am not fully aware of.)
Part of the evidence for that is that readers are not predominantly seeking to feed themselves on arguments that are anti-establishment or that fuel preconceived prejudices. A few readers (one quite recently) have even “complained”(?) that they feel some sense of incompleteness with my posts because I do not come always down decisively for or against a particular point of view.
I do recognize from my own exchanges with a few others that I do frustrate some of them by not often arguing in black and white. But I am an amateur and post as I explore. Though I have had the lucky opportunities to read a little more than many other lay people.
Being very conscious of how my own views have changed over the years, and how views I once held after being so sure I had investigated them so thoroughly yet that I later found to be baseless, I sometimes feel uncomfortable when someone does ask me for my view on this or that. My immediate thoughts are to think “What difference does my view make?” What counts is what people do with the evidence and how they can justify their arguments themselves. My views change as I learn more. I do not have the time to explore the arguments to the extent I would like.
I really do hate debates per se. I cannot see their point. The adversarial system is something that may be justifiable in a courtroom setting of some nations, but I prefer to explore ideas and understand issues in a cooperative and stimulating environment, always open to correction and advice, and always painfully aware of the tentativeness of any views held at any one time.One of my biggest objections to a number of mainstream scholarly approaches is their evident lack of humility, their arrogance and pig-headed refusal to admit even fundamental logical error. I am not accusing “mainstream scholarship” of being like this. Obviously not. Look at how many mainstream scholars I have discussed and referred to positively. Some I have discussed in depth over many posts, if not in total agreement, many times very favourably, and I don’t think any are “mythicists” at all.
So next time someone says that Vridar is just a blog for mythicist groupies or some similar rot I suppose I can point to this poll.
But my life circumstances are changing once again, and I am going to have to change the pace of posts to this blog. It has actually slowed down in the past few weeks already.
I have, with some help and valuable advice from people like Rich Griese (who I am sure I have frustrated by not being more quick to respond to all his suggestions) worked to get this blog to become a little noticed in the internet world.
But to do any more, to continue to “grow” it, would mean I would have to dilute it. I would have to continue to post several times a day, usually about ‘interesting’ things perhaps but things that are hardly meaningful. I see at least three blogs now have regular “depravity” type posts. I refuse point blank to follow the tactics of certain rag newspapers to boost readership. And it really does depress me to see my stats go through the roof whenever there is some altercation with James McGrath. Blood-sport spectators are not the ones I really want to feed.
I am currently looking at one or two different options for where I might steer this blog in the future now that I no longer have the time to produce in-depth posts as frequently as I used to. Will follow those up in the coming days and weeks.
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