I just turned comment moderation back on for this blog. That felt good. My experiment is over with allowing people to post comments on their own, saying whatever they like (pretty much; I did have my limits).
The breaking point came today when I scrolled through a bunch of comments on my most recent post, "Buddhist wisdom: pay attention to the breath until the self dissolves."
Those comments surpassed the usual level of religious dogmatism, inanity, incomprehensibility, and plain gibberish that I'm used to seeing from a group of core commenters who have been using this blog basically as a message board to reinforce among themselves their faith in an Eastern form of mysticism known as Sant Mat.
Um, I kept reminding them that the name of this blog is Church of the Churchless, not the Church of Sant Mat. And the tag line is "preaching the gospel of spiritual independence," not "bowing down at the holy feet of the guru."
But those warnings fell on deaf ears, because religious craziness is an addiction, and addicts can't break their habit easily.
I'm sympathetic to those addicts. I used to be one myself, back in the days when I too believed in the teachings of Sant Mat. But I was nowhere near as fanatic as the above-mentioned commenters. I liked to give reasons for my belief, and I didn't consider that what I believed was 100%, for-sure, absolutely true.
So from now on I'll be moderating comments to see if they relate to the subject of a post and aren't filled with religious preachiness. It's bothered for me for quite a while that this blog was being used to spread religious craziness via comments, but I managed to stifle my feelings about this.
I'd rather have one intelligent, reasonable, thoughtful comment on a post I write than a hundred incoherent comments about how wonderful holy sound and light are, and how lucky the commenters consider themselves to have found the One True Way. Which is complete bullshit that I don't want contaminating this blog any longer.
Further, I know that normal human beings who want to express their opinion about a post get turned off by the mass of comments that have nothing to do with what I wrote, and often insult anyone who expresses a view that challenges their dogmatic religious sensibilities.
My commitment is to seeking truth and encouraging respectful discussions about that quest. I've allowed that commitment to be diluted by being overly accepting of wacko comments. Again, no more.
Understand: I still very much welcome comments on my blog posts. What's unwelcome are off-topic comments that contain religious dogmatism unrelated to the subject of the post. Geez, I write a post about Buddhist meditation and virtually all of the comments are about how awareness of breathing is the Devil's workshop.
Why? Because Sant Mat fundamentalism says so. Not good enough. Not even close. If you can't think for yourself, don't even think of leaving a comment on this blog, because it won't be published. Like I said, intelligent, reasonable, thoughtful comments will be approved, whether or not I believe in them.
But if you want to use this blog to spread religious craziness, start your own blog or message board. I'm done with allowing this blog to be used that way.